New Bosch President Outlines Proactive Strategy
"One of the two things that I'm really going to push in this organization is trying to bring innovation to market," Hurley pledged. "Innovation creates opportunity; it demonstrates other ways of solving problems and that, in itself, generates spectacular growth. In our organization over the last three years, I've seen innovative products literally bring double-digit growth, into the 20-percent range."
He also emphasized evaluating projects from the customer's standpoint and concentrating on returns so the projects are self-funding.
In his new role, Hurley reports to the chairman of Bosch's worldwide security business and is responsible for the security systems' legal entity in North America. He reports to the Robert Bosch North America board.
In addition to overseeing the sales and marketing operations for the Americas region, Hurley also has direct responsibility for all customer-care functions in that area, which includes most of North, Central and South America.
"The strategy we have is a solid one, so we're certainly going to continue to execute on that, but if I could do anything that, in my mind, will really add value for our dealers, it would be the ability to start anticipating the latent needs of the people who are ultimately using our technology," Hurley pledged.
"Obviously, we're going to continue looking at acquisitions, increasing the breadth of our offerings," he conceded. "But the world is changing, things are consolidating and from a manufacturer's perspective, I don't ever want us to lose sight of the latent needs that are going to occur down the road in three or four years and try to anticipate those now so that we're really ready to deliver those things."
Among the major challenges Hurley listed are the debilitating effect of false alarms on the industry.
"It's creating the consequences of municipalities wondering if this issue is creating a financial burden or challenging the role they play as a responder," he noted. "I think it's our job to work with all those folks. I think we need to collectively arrive at the right solution, and ultimately, we shouldn't dilute the value of deterrence and detection. Prevention is everything."
The second major challenge Hurley sees is a lack of acceptance of IT networks.
"In general, I see this industry as a little slower in understanding and embracing the power of networks and the Internet in their role in providing a better value in security," he observed. "I think it's just an educational challenge for us.
"Don't get me wrong, we see a tremendous amount of good integrators out there who are highly knowledgeable and know how to extract a lot of value from the IP networks and the networks in general to deliver a better security solution, there's no question about it," Hurley stressed. "My key thing is not the reliability of networks but the perception of the networks' reliability."
Hurley, a Canadian citizen and permanent U.S. resident, started in the security industry by pulling cable and selling and installing systems and central station monitoring. He estimates he has spent from two-thirds to three-fourths of his career on the customer side of the industry.
Bosch has invested $3 million to expand its customer care facility in Fairport, N.Y., and its order processing, service, technical support and training efforts.
"Our whole premise is to make it easier to do business with us," Hurley explained. "That takes a tremendous amount of effort and investment of people, time and training to pull off, but at the end of the day, that's what it comes down to, just anticipating those needs and delivering to those expectations by making the right investments up front." - Russ Gager, Managing Editor